Peggy Oberthier returns as Student Wellbeing Coordinator (SWC) for her fourth year in the role. Jess Manzie continues her role through the Department of Education’s Secondary School Nurse program.  We are currently recruiting a Mental Health Practitioner for a .8 position and we should have someone appointed by mid-March.


From Jess Manzie

As the secondary school nurse, I am working to promote whole school health programs, and the year has taken off at full pace. Our LGBTQI and ally group, The Rainbow Lounge, has recommenced and with the help of some promotion amongst the new year 7s, I'm happy to report we are having our best ever turn out. Meeting with the new SRC leaders along with local health agencies to work together on events such as International Women's Day and the Victorian Government initiative 'This Girl Can', which encourages females to be involved in sport. 

We have also celebrated National Condom Day by encouraging discussion amongst senior students about safe sex practices and healthy relationships. I look forward to continuing to work with both the school and local community to achieve better health outcomes for our students.


Wellbeing Procedures 

If you have concerns for your child’s mental health the first step is to have a discussion with your child and see what they would like to do. You are always welcome to discuss concerns with the Year Level team, or Student Wellbeing Coordinator (9458 6174). If they are reluctant to seek help, we suggest you make an appointment with your GP to flag the concerns with them and discuss options. If your child is not sure if there is a problem, but would like to discuss some issues and possible pathways for support, then they are encouraged to email peggy.oberthier@thornburyhs.vic.edu.au to make an appointment. Alternatively. they can drop into wellbeing before/after school, recess/ lunchtime to make a self-referral in person. Some students prefer to speak to a trusted teacher or their year level team and then a Wellbeing referral can be made to the Wellbeing team. The student can then expect an email from Peggy Oberthier to organise a time to debrief the issues.  


Possible referral pathways:

Casual Counselling Peggy Oberthier

Peggy can see a range of students for mild to moderate issues. With a Masters in Student Wellbeing ,  Peggy can help students with processing school based stress and managing relationships. Peggy can also assist students who have external psychologists if they are feeling overwhelmed while at school. Peggy can communicate with the external psychologist with consent from the young person and or guardians.


THS Mental Health Practitioner

This referral pathway is for short term counselling for mild to moderate issues. The clinician will be able to conduct a risk assessment and assist with referrals to external providers if further support is required.


External Counsellor/ Psychologist-private or through Headspace/ Your Community Health

The student can obtain a Mental Health Care Plan through their GP and seek appointments externally. The student is eligible for up to 20 Medicare funded sessions per calendar year. There may be a gap fee for some private practitioners. The service is free at Headspace Collingwood (currently a 3 months waiting period) and at your Community Health. 

We encourage all families to work with the school if there are external providers helping the student with school- based issues.  Parents and guardians are also encouraged to provide documentation from their psychologist/social worker/OT with any relevant information that may assist teachers to understand their behaviours in class or requirements for their workload or stress management. This could be a safety plan, warning signs/triggers and/or strategies to cope when anxious, angry, sad or overwhelmed. This information is always treated with confidentiality and care. This is extremely useful to help the student feel supported in a consistent manner





In some cases the student may present with acute mental health issues that require the services of a tertiary hospital. 


Appointment times

After school, lunch time and study period appointments are prioritised for year 12 students. Students will miss classes because of appointments but every effort is made to choose different subjects each week to minimise disruption to learning. A wellbeing appointment counts as an approved absence. Students are required to catch up on missed work by emailing their teachers or asking friends for the work.



All students referred to Headspace and the MHP will be required to get consent from parents or guardians. If they are 16 and over, they can sign their own consent form. The consent form will be provided by the SWC.

Consent is not required if they seek casual, debriefing or referral sessions with Peggy Oberthier, SWC.


Programs for 2021

  • This term the student wellbeing team is offering a psycho-educational program on Wednesday afternoons aimed the year 11 and 12 students. Sessions on goal setting, focusing on strengths and ways to promote resilience are covered.
  • Further programs for Senior Students will be offered throughout the year including: using mindfulness and emotional freedom techniques to combat stress.
  • Rainbow Lounge runs every Thursday at lunch facilitated by Jess Manzie to support our LGBTQI+ students.


If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact the Wellbeing team on 9458-6174.